February 5, 2019
Did you know that your gum health has a link to your heart? Coincidentally, February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month and American Heart Health Month. In an effort to raise awareness on the impact your gums can have on your heart, an expert dentist in Richmond will explain some of the health risks of gum disease and why it’s important to get treatment. Keep reading to learn about the surprising link that your gums have with your cardiovascular health.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation and infection of your gums typically caused by plaque and tartar buildup as a result of poor oral healthcare. In its earliest stages, gum disease can be reversed through a good brushing and flossing routine as well as dental visits. However, if left untreated, it can lead to permanent damage of your gums, supportive tissue, and even tooth loss.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
You may have gum disease if you notice any of these common signs and symptoms:
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Tender or sensitive gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red or inflamed gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Receding gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Changes in bite
These signs should be taken seriously. The sooner you can receive proper treatment, the more likely you are to prevent more severe overall health issues from occurring.
How Can It Affect My Heart?
Studies have shown that gum disease can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other heart-related issues by 20%. This disease causes inflammation and bacteria to eventually contribute to the narrowing of important arteries. Conversely, if you have heart problems, you’re at a higher risk of gum disease.
Additionally, gum disease puts you at a higher risk for other serious overall health problems like diabetes, immune disorders, certain cancers, and even Alzheimer’s.
How Can I Keep My Gums and Heart Healthy?
If you notice any warning signs of gum disease, you should get the treatment that you need as soon as possible. Your dentist can expertly treat gum disease using scaling and root planing. With this method, they will remove all plaque and tartar that is above and below your gumline. Then, they will smooth out your tooth roots to make it harder for plaque and gum disease-causing bacteria to collect under your gumline.
You should also practice good oral healthcare like brushing twice a day and flossing once a day to keep your mouth clean. You can eliminate risk factors of gum disease like tobacco use and heavy alcohol use as well. Lastly, be sure to visit your dentist twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings. These visits will keep your gums and heart in tip-top shape.
Now that you know the importance of gum health, be on the look out for the warning signs and use these tips for a happy smile and a healthy heart.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Hoa Vongsengdeuane is a proud native Texan who loves providing quality dental care in Richmond. She believes in patient education, which is why she wants you to know some of the risks of gum disease. She currently practices at VL Dental, and she can be contacted through her website or by phone at (281) 239-7200 for any questions.
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